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5 Mistakes Newer DJs Sometimes Make

DJ Experience, News | Apr 12, 2016   

5 Mistakes Newer DJs Sometimes Make

You just got your first booking as a DJ. You have all the gear you need, your set list is ready, and you are 100% ready to blow the roof off the venue. You’re pumped up! But before you even think about setting a foot in that club there are a few things you should know.

Below are a few unwritten rules and common pitfalls DJs new to the game will inevitably experience. If you can avoid these then you will be better off in the long run.

Thinking other DJs are your competition.


Older, experienced DJs probably know this already, but for all you newer DJs, other DJs are not your enemy – they are your friends! If you are just breaking into the scene, this is really important to know. Start making friends, fast. That old saying of ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ holds true in this situation – especially in getting more gigs. If you’re cool to your fellow DJ, then more likely than not they will start giving a positive boost to your moniker. It’s simple, just giving some respect to other DJs will yield much more success to your career.

If you’re opening up for the headliner, playing all the top of chart hits.


Don’t be greedy. Everyone knows you can mix the hell out of Drizzy’s latest song, but if you are playing up all the Top 40 before the headliner, then you are sure to piss away any potential future gigs with said headliner. For tips on how to rock an opening set, read our article on overcoming challenges as an opening DJ here.

If you’re an opener, going over your set time causing the other DJ(s) going on after you to cut their sets short.


This is a sure one-way ticket to becoming a permanent bedroom DJ. If you are allotted 45 minutes to play your set, be on time, make sure everything is ready to go, and end it right on time for the other DJ going on after you to properly play through his set. Give your last track some extra time, so that the headliner has some time to set his levels straight and the transition will be seamless.

Paying to play.


This is the kind of bullshit that is ruining DJing for both newer and veteran DJs. The ‘pay to play’ is a scam that’s been getting bigger and bigger in the club scene. If you haven’t heard of this scam, this is how it works. The venue owner or manager will provide the unassuming DJ a specific number of tickets to sell. If the DJ can’t sell all the tickets, then the DJ will probably have to pay out-of-pocket to make up the difference to play. It’s better to negotiate some work-around or not to play at all and not support this tactic from deceptive club managers.

Not getting paid the full amount agreed upon by the club owner/manager.


If you negotiated a set amount for the night, but if at the end of the night the owner or manager wants to give you a fraction of the original amount – tell him where he can stick it. This is something that doesn’t happen too often, but often enough to be discussed. The owner/manager will probably give you his reasoning by stating, “There weren’t many guests tonight/we didn’t make enough money. ” So he will try and stiff you into collecting his pocket change. This is complete b.s. and we’ll tell you why. You think the bartender is getting paid less because of the club traffic? What about the bouncer? All of the bar staff will have been paid in full regardless of club traffic, so what about the DJ? You provide a core service to the club scene, you bring your own equipment, and spend money and effort in promoting your shows. You need to get paid. Our solution would be to either get paid up front and in full, or get your own manager/coordinator to help you with these situations.


Know more common or not-so-common mistakes DJs make? Share your experience in the comments.

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2 thoughts on “5 Mistakes Newer DJs Sometimes Make

  1. Make sure you get to any gig early, check out the crowd. An older more experienced DJ will know this, but try and mingle a bit and feel out the crowd, even if you have a set list of music you will be playing for your set, always leave room for improvising, this is where the creative part of a DJ comes in. I can honestly say some of my best selections and transitions came to me on the fly.

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